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How to make working from home work for your budget

Published April 22, 2020

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With unprecedented numbers of Americans currently working from home, the extra energy costs that come with it may arrive as an unwelcome surprise. 

Here are seven simple solutions to reduce the sticker shock this spring:

Unplug. Reduce distractions and your energy use by only plugging in the electronics you need for work. Using an advanced power strip can also save you around $100 a year by preventing unused gadgets from wasting energy (the dreaded “vampire power”).

Get comfy. On hot sunny days, give your cooling system a break by drawing your curtains or blinds. If it’s chilly, leave them open to take advantage of the sun’s natural warmth and light.

Keep it simple. Microwaves use a fraction of the energy of ovens—without overheating your kitchen. Try to keep your lunches simple and save your baking hat for cooler nights and mornings.

Catch a breeze. For the warmer months, an ENERGY STAR® certified ceiling fan can make your workstation feel up to 10º F cooler without touching the thermostat.

Flex. If flexibility is an option, shift your energy-intensive chores and prime productivity hours to off-peak times when rates tend to be the lowest. To make this easier, check to see if your energy provider offers time-of-use solutions.

Optimize. Most newer software comes with built-in energy saver modes or allows you to customize settings for optimal efficiency. Over a 40+ hour work week, small adjustments like these can have a real impact. 

Upgrade. See if your utility offers an online home energy assessment. A few quick questions could help you identify your home’s problem areas, opportunities for improvements and even suggest available rebates.

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